2021 Classic Record Recipient Announced: ‘Poi E’ – Patea Māori Club
New Zealand’s unofficial national anthem, ‘Poi E’, is finally being recognised as an important part of New Zealand’s rich musical landscape, with Patea Māori Club being awarded 2021 IMNZ (Independent Music NZ) Classic Record.
Patea Māori Club’s ‘Poi E’ lyrics were written by te reo advocate, linguist, composer, Ngoi Pēwhairangi (QSM) and music by Dalvanius Prime in 1983, to encourage rangatahi to be proud of being Māori. A simple song with a catchy beat sung entirely in te reo Māori ‘Poi E’ has become Aotearoa’s unofficial national anthem, giving pride to generations of New Zealanders.
Recorded and released in late 1983, the single spent four weeks at number 1 and a further 22 weeks in the music charts, which was unprecedented for a song in te reo Māori.
This week, group member Maryanne Broughton remembers, “The release of ‘Poi E’ was a huge milestone for Māori music and was an extended dream of Dals’ and Aunty Ngoi’s to get our language back out there, to encourage young Māori to be proud of being Māori. It actually wasn’t popular with the older generation as it was not the traditional way of singing our songs. Still, it was released at just the right moment, when young kids were learning and relating to te reo Māori via Te Kohanga Reo, and our teenagers were jumping on the break dancing craze. Singing ‘Poi E’ meant the kids were using our language every day.”
In 2010 ‘Poi E’ was used in Taika Waititi’s hit movie, Boy. This saw the song back in the New Zealand music charts. A documentary on the song was released in 2016. In 2021 – 38 years after its release – ‘Poi E’ is officially acknowledged as an important part of our rich musical tapestry as the recipient of the 2021 IMNZ Classic Record.